People usually look for a therapist when part of their life has hit a crisis point. That usually means that the main thing on their mind is getting a quick solution to their problems and feeling ok again as fast as possible. This a large element of what therapy provides but it can go beyond that.
Although it may not feel like it when life gets really tough is also a great time to learn more about yourself, your relationship with other people and how you respond to life events. This knowledge can help you make better choices and also maybe even avoid some of the challenges that are causing you pain in the future.
For example, if you’re going through a relationship crisis you may find you feel as if you’ve lost part of yourself or grieving for the lost relationship. Your self-esteem may be at rock bottom and you may also be struggling to see how you’ll cope both practically and emotionally when you’re not part of a couple anymore. You may literally feel at times like you are cracking up.
While a therapist won’t tell you what to do, they can work in partnership with you to get through the worst of the pain and deal with the anxiety and depression you feel right now. They’ll help you to recognise happening for you and explore options as you consider your immediate next steps.
However, therapy isn’t a simple sticking plaster to cover up your wounds and you may find it challenges you at times. What has happened will change you and you won’t be quite the same person you were before. When life get’s tough it can be hard but it can also show you how strong you can be. In Japan pottery that has been broken is often repaired with gold. The crack is seen as part of its history and the object becomes more beautiful for having been broken.
Whatever brought you to therapy in the first place, it can provide a unique space to identify and explore your strengths and areas for development - to work out what you want from your life from now on.
As you go through the process you’ll get to know yourself better. You’ll develop resilience and the skills you need to cope better with future setbacks. It may also identify opportunities you may not have seen up until now.
Your therapist can work with you to design your future - a future that could be a lot brighter and more beautiful that one you see for yourself right now.
Jacquie Hampton is a counsellor and psychotherapist. You can find out more about her at www.jacquiehampton.co.uk.